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COCOON (1985 - PG-13)

Four friendly alien Antereans, traveling incognito as humans, come to Florida, hire a struggling charter boatman to retrieve pods from the ocean floor, containing fellow aliens left behind thousands of years ago.  The pods are put at the bottom of the backyard pool of the house that the aliens had rented.  When seniors from a nearby nursing home break in and use the pool as was their custom, it is like they bathed in the fountain of youth, feeling rejuvenated after they left. The consequences of this causes some problems as well as blessings for them and the aliens.

This film could be compared to "Close Encounters." Among the veteran actors, Jessica Tandy, Wilford Brimley, and Don Ameche are particularly good. Steve Guttenberg and Tahnee Welch bring youth and charm to a sub-plot involving human/alien romance. The ILM Special Effects are dazzling.

The cast includes: Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Hume Cronyn, Steve Guttenberg, Jack Gilford, Maureen Stapleton, Jessica Tandy, Tahnee Welch, and Brian Dennehy.

Directed by Ron Howard.

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SYNOPSIS...

Aliens come to Earth. They rescue fellow aliens, in cocoons, off the ocean bottom. Oldsters swim in a pool which contains the cocoons, becoming rejuvenated.

Meanwhile, the aliens prepare to bring the cocoons home with them. When other oldsters find out about the rejuvenating pool, some of the cocoons are damaged, killing their alien occupants. The oldsters are banished from the pool.

The aliens return the remaining healthy pods to the ocean. The aliens decide to let some of the oldsters travel back to their home planet with them, where they will become virtually immortal. Pursued by the coast guard, the aliens and oldsters escape in a large, beautiful spaceship.

Review...

Director Ron Howard's, COCOON, is a great, life affirming Sci-Fi fable.

When aliens, (who look like people), come to earth, they hire struggling charter boat guy, Steve Guttenberg ("Short Circuit"), to retrieve barnacle encrusted "cocoons" from the ocean floor. When the cocoons are put into the pool of a mansion the aliens rent, oldsters who break into the indoor pool room for a dip become rejuvenated.

The film features a truck load of fine, veteran actors, including Jessica Tandy ("Fried Green Tomatoes"), Jack Gilford ("Save the Tiger"), Hume Cronyn ("Batteries Not Included"), Maureen Stapleton ("Heartburn"), Gwen Verdon ("Damn Yankees"), Wilford Brimley ("Hard Target"), and Don Ameche ("Trading Places"), among others. Brimley and Ameche score strongest. A scene of the revitalized Ameche break-dancing is a hoot.

As the "youngsters," Steve Guttenberg and Tahnee Welch ("Lethal Obsession"), do fine. It's just hard holding your own against such seasoned talent.

The Special Effects of the aliens without their skins,who are golden, glowing creatures who can float/fly, are great. ILM, Visual Effects Production Supervisor, Mitch Suskin, and Special Alien Creatures and Effect guy, Greg Cannom ,are the responsible parties. The alien spaceship, viewed at film's end, also by ILM, is truly a wonder to behold.

The Music, by James Horner, is beautiful and stirring, like a wonderful yet somewhat sad memory of something long forgotten, and only now recalled.

My favorite scene, wonderfully Photographed by Director of Photography, Don Peterman, takes place when Wilford Brimley tells his young grandson, Barret Oliver ("D.A.R.Y.L."), that he'll be leaving him soon. As they stand knee deep in shimmering water, with Brimley fishing, he explains, "When we get where we're going, we'll never be sick, we won't get any older, and we won't ever die." It's a magical film moment, thanks to fine acting and inspired dialogue, (Screenplay by Tom Benedek; Story by David Sapenstein).

COCOON will be highly watchable for Sci-Fi fans of all ages.

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